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Cybersecurity & Standards

What Does “Governance” Mean? What are “Critical Internet Resources”?

CDT Comments for the Second Internet Governance Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

It is the purpose of this paper to describe “governance” and “critical Internet resources” in the context of a vision of the Internet as a medium uniquely suited to foster economic growth, human development, and democratization.  Secondly, while we argue for a broad definition of CIR, we stress that the definition matters less than the principle that human rights — most importantly freedom of expression, which is foundational — must be central to all aspects of Internet governance.  Third, it is our intent to show that different institutions and different processes – some national, some global, some governmental, some non-governmental – can effectively “govern” different aspects of CIR.  Finally, we stress the responsibility of national governments for overcoming many of the barriers to Internet development.  In particular, we want to warn against disproportionate focus on the crucial but comparatively small aspect of CIR overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).